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WHO / Draft resolution shows Codex standards can make a powerful contribution to food safety


The Executive Board of the World Health Organization has endorsed a draft food safety resolution and will now send it for consideration by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May 2020. Two thirds of Executive Board members took the floor and strongly supported the resolution. Many member states are now sponsors of the draft resolution, which was negotiated with the European Union as chair.

Dirk Lange, European Commission, said: “This WHA resolution will put food safety high on the international political agenda. It will give the political guidance to update the WHO Global Strategy on Food Safety. It is also a strong call for more WHO support to Codex Alimentarius which will be critical to achieve the objectives of the new Codex strategic plan. I hope and look forward to being able to celebrate its adoption by the WHA during our Codex Commission meeting in July.”

Guilherme da Costa, Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission said: “I would like to congratulate the WHO member states who prepared the draft resolution. It is of paramount importance for the area of food safety as well as for the Codex Alimentarius Commission and I urge members to keep pushing through national delegations for adoption in May”.

Amongst a series of clear and direct recommendations, the resolution recognises that Codex standards and their subsequent use by member states, make a powerful contribution to food safety. It also stresses the need ‘to provide sufficient and sustainable funding for active participation in the provision of scientific advice to Codex’ from all countries, especially developing countries.

Former Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, Awilo Ochieng Pernet, Switzerland, participated in the drafting of the text in Geneva and echoed the words of the resolution itself, describing it as “WHO’s rallying call to member states to remain committed at the highest political level to ensure food safety”.

Kazuaki Miyagishima, WHO, said: “I am very happy that the resolution sets a basis for WHO’s food safety work and its collaboration with FAO for the coming years”.

FAO welcomes the renewed focus the Executive Board has placed on food safety, the emphasis on OneHealth and the important joint FAO and WHO activities through Codex Alimentarius, the joint food safety scientific advice, INFOSAN and more. “Food safety is our joint responsibility and FAO will gladly collaborate with WHO to ensure that sufficient safe and nutritious food is available for everyone”, said Markus Lipp, FAO.

In a direct call for action the resolution urges member states to participate actively in Codex and to support the joint expert bodies of WHO and FAO, including through the provision of experts and data. Countries are also urged to take into account Codex standards, guidelines and recommendations when developing national legislation.


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Full text of the resolution on the WHO website